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Recipes   /   Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe – Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe – Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper

Aug 30, 2016 by Gabriele Corcos


Italy is a very small country where regional and super local cuisine are a way of life and not an applied culinary concept. As you travel through the peninsula you can notice changes in ingredients and recipes that are not sudden but rather blend together in a magnificent way. Some dishes have remained local since they hit the kitchen table for the very first time, others traveled and found love almost wherever they went, becoming ambassadors of their land of origin.

“Pesto alla Genovese”, “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”, “Bucatini all’Amatriciana” are now recipes cooked all over the world: not only they are delicious but they also tell the story of the land where they come from, they hold their flag up high and proudly feed us while helping us romanticize about Italy and its bounty of ingredients and simple preparations.

“Cacio e Pepe” has found its glory in a more recent history; when I grew up in Florence “Pesto” (recipe from Genova, north of Florence) was already an ubiquitous condiment for pasta, and some “alimentari” even sold a freshly made sauce my mother could use at home. But “Cacio e Pepe” (from Rome, south of Florence) was at the time a bit of a white fly. Only a few restaurants had it on their menu and even if you ordered it would often fall short of expectations leaving you wishing you were in Rome where the dish was actually invented, to enjoy the real deal.

At this point in my life this recipe has become the equivalent of Mac and Cheese; my kids enjoy it the same way if not more, and I am happy that I can in fact serve a real traditional and authentic recipe at the dinner table.

Serves: 4-6 / Prep Time: 10 mins / Cook Time: ca 10 mins (check the pasta box)

  • 1 pound long pasta, such as bucatini, spaghetti, or long fusilli
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly and coarsely ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

1Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until it is al dente. Scoop out and reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return it to the hot cooking pot.

2Mix the Parmigiano and Romano cheeses together. Tossing the pasta, gradually add the cheese mixture to the pot, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a creamy sauce. Mix in a generous amount of the pepper. The cheeses are salty, so you probably won’t need any salt.

3Serve the pasta in individual bowl, topping each serving with a drizzle of oil. Pass more of the Pecorino cheese at the table.

Importante! It is important not to add the cheese too quickly, or it will clump.

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